Have you ever been to a city that left you confused as to where you actually were?
That happened to me when we ventured for a brief one night stop-over in Seoul. As we drove into the city after several fun days on the ski slopes I was a little amused by the number of pizza shops we drove past. When we pulled into our hotel in Jung-ju I was shocked by the shops around us. Two Belgium waffle shops, Dunkin’ Donuts, two Outback Steakhouse restaurants on the same road within a block of each other! Was I in Seoul or the USA?
See what I mean? (and yes – that is a local rolling along on their Segway). Obviously the telltale sign of Korean on the signage gave away the fact we were in Asia, but the last thing I expected in the capital of South Korea was to be surrounded by American food chains. They were all very well patronised by the local people who obviously have a love for this style of food, otherwise all these restaurants wouldn’t exist. What I couldn’t figure out was how all the people stayed so thin! (Lucky Asian metabolism?) As we discovered, the Seoul locals LOVE their American food and their cosmetics.
The streets in Jung-ju were never boring. The kids were thrilled to walk around despite the cold and loved the discovery of a snowman in the middle of a side road.
The other wonderful discovery on the streets was the street stall food. I’m a sucker for a street stall and one place I figure is safe to eat the street food has to be Korea …
That night I couldn’t resist getting a freshly fried potato on a stick. Locals were queued and buying them, so I joined in. It was delicious! The only down side? The sprogs loved it too … as you can probably tell, so I didn’t get to eat that much of it. It was lightly seasoned and you could taste the freshness. I hadn’t realised how enjoyable warm potato chips were. I also loved the presentation. It really was one potato, one chip spiralling down the skewer.
The next day we walked back past the same vendor and couldn’t resist trying a variation…
Sausage AND potato chip on a stick. A whole meal! The kids devoured it contently. I’m still trying to figure out how they got the potato on there!
Our time on the streets of Seoul was too short. We can’t wait for the opportunity to go and spend more time there on another trip (assuming the Korean Peninsula doesn’t blow itself up in the next few weeks).